My boss was having a heart attack. He had collapsed onto the floor and his face screwed was up in agony.
“It’s okay, Michael,” I told him with a calmness that I didn’t feel. “I’ll call an ambulance, you’re going to be okay.” Isn’t it amazing that people always make these promises when everything is clearly not okay and the person suffering most certainly doesn’t look like they’re going to be okay. I patted him on the arm in what I hoped was a soothing way but it just felt awkward. I scuttled off to call an ambulance.
“Which service do you require?” the operated asked. Her voice sounded tinny and distant.
“Ambulance, please,” I said, my voice shaking with panic. “My boss is having a heart attack.”
“Okay, we’ll get someone out to you right away. What’s the address?”
“I’m…um… I’m at…” Actually, where the hell was I? It didn’t look like my office. “I think I’m at work…” I muttered. This was stupid. Surely I should know where I was. And then, at the back of my mind I heard another voice.
“This is the news on Thursday 25th June on Capital 95.8FM. Today people are waking up to the sad news that Michael Jackson has died from a suspected heart attack…” My eyes flew open and I realised I was in bed with my radio alarm clock chattering away on my bedside table. I had been dreaming. I lay there listening to the news with a strange sense of unease that only moments before I had dreamed that someone else called Michael had been having a heart attack.
* * *
Penny Hopwood, who you may recall from an earlier post on incredible coincidences, seems to have an uncanny knack of running into people whom she hasn’t seen for years, even though the odds of meeting these people again are exceptionally large, seeing as she left them behind on an entirely different continent:
“Gareth was my first ‘real love’. I was sixteen. We parted after two years – I went to Entebbe and he to Provence. We lost touch until about four years later when we found ourselves sitting next to one another on a District Line tube! For a moment we sat in silence, but after a quick chat he asked for my phone number. That night I had a date with my future husband and as I flew down the stairs I heard the phone rang – I shouted to one of my flat-mates to please take a message if it was for me. Needless to say, it was Gareth and he didn’t leave a number. Years passed by but I never forgot Gareth and always felt I would see him again. I knew he was a relatively well-known actor and his mother a film and stage actress. A few years ago, I saw Gareth narrating a programme on T.V. about his godfather (a very famous actor and writer). I must admit, I found it hard to recognise the gorgeous Gareth I had known as a teenager, but he was still attractive. I was all the more determined to trace him, but it didn’t happen. Last year, my boss’s wife, an actress, began talking about a film she had been in and asked me to check out a member of the cast whose name she had forgotten. I did.
It was Gareth.
The next day, I made some calls to find out the name of Gareth’s agent. There was a slight pause at the other end of the phone.
‘I’m afraid you’ll have difficulty contacting him,” I was told. “He died last year.”
P.S. Looking at Gareth’s bio on the web, my boss wrote the music for two films Gareth starred in. Small world. It was a shame that I was a year too late!”
©Nicola Kirk and http://www.nicolakirk.wordpress.com 2010